Hank the Guard Frog gives us something to croak about

23 May 2014

Hank might look tough but this striking little frog is under serious threat of extinction. There are now thought to be less than seven calling male Southern Corroboree Frogs in the wild but, in a day of hope for the team at Zoos Victoria, this season experts at Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary have removed a combined total of 377 Southern Corroboree Frog eggs from the breeding enclosures. It is the most ever produced at Healesville Sanctuary and will form part of a planned release into Kosciusko National Park this week, significantly boosting numbers in the wild.

Hank has spent the past few months in a nest that he dug out of the sphagnum moss in his breeding enclosure. From here, he has been calling loud and strong in an effort to attract some gravid females.

It is not unusual for one male to have a number of “visits”  from different females and as a result be found with several clutches in his nest. The eggs are often at different stages of development indicating that they were laid at different times.

Tadpoles develop within the eggs and when the nest becomes flooded in spring, they hatch and then live and grow in the surrounding pools and eventually become frogs. 

“Zoos Victoria is dedicated to creating a brighter future for this alpine amphibian,” Rachel Lowry, Director Wildlife Conservation and Science, Zoos Victoria said. “Having been involved in the recovery of this species since 2001, working closely with the NSW government, Zoos Victoria maintains a captive insurance population with increasing breeding success. We breed animals for release to supplement wild populations, conduct research into the impact of the infectious chytrid fungus disease, and are working to raise the public profile of this Critically Endangered species.

People can adopt a Southern Corroboree Frog for as little as $15 a month. Adopting one of these little frogs is a great way to contribute directly to the care, wellbeing and enrichment of wildlife, both inside and outside our three zoos, as well as keeping updated about the work Zoos Victoria is doing to fight extinction of these little guys. Visit http://www.zoo.org.au/get-involved/adopt